Earlier this month, Telstra kicked off its NRL Live 2013 app for iOS and Android smartphones, which allows paying subscribers to watch live games via a video streaming service. We take a look at how the service stacks up.
The NRL app itself is a free download which includes live scores and stats, match highlights and replay videos, news reports and the 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership draw and ladder. Video subscriptions, which include six live games per week, require an in-app payment, however. You can opt to pay $5.49 for one week, $14.99 for a month or $89.99 for a full season pass. The app can be accessed regardless of which mobile carrier you use.
Here’s the full rundown of features for each pass type:
$5.49 weekly pass (iOS only)
$14.99 monthly pass
$89.99 annual pass
|All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App||All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App||All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App|
|7-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below||31-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below||365-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below|
|Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay||Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay||Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay|
|Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences||Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences||Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences|
|Wi-Fi or Mobile connectivity||Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity||Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity|
As you can see, the inbuilt features are identical across the board. The weekly iPhone pass will cost around $140 for a full season, which makes it the least attractive option of the three. The monthly and full season passes work out at around the same price (i.e. — despite granting ‘365 days’ of access, the NRL season actually only lasts for six months).
Personally, we’d plump for the monthly pass, as this gives you the option of dipping in and out of the season at your leisure — handy if you know you’re going to be on holidays, for example. Even if you end up subscribing each and every month, you’ll still be putting down roughly the same amount of cash as if you went for the full season pass. Basically, the only advantage to the latter is that it proves how much of a sporting nut you are.
If you do decide to buy the weekly or monthly pass, you’ll need to manually unsubscribe from the service before the next billing cycle. Rather cheekily, the app is set up to auto-renewal itself at the end of each week/month.
The app provides live video streaming of up to six matches per week, plus all games broadcast on free-to-air TV. Special matches, such as the International Anzac Test Match, State of Origin series and the City vs. Country game are also streamed live from the app.
For the Apple version of the app, you will need a device running iOS 5.1 at the least. The Google version requires Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher — but not all handsets are compatible. To find out if the app supports your Android smartphone, pay a visit to the Google Play Store.
Unfortunately, neither version of the app has been optimised to work with tablet devices — although if you want a big screen experience, there’s nothing stopping you from connecting your phone to your TV via HDMI. The results are passable, according to most user reports, although the resolution obviously pales in comparison to a proper TV broadcast.
Telstra customers do not incur data usage charges for using the app — unless you are roaming overseas. Other telco customers are advised to stick to a Wi-Fi connection.
The NRL Live 2013 app isn’t what we’d call dirt-cheap — but for die-hard rugby fans, it remains the most affordable way to watch multiple live matches every week. If you mainly subscribe to Foxtel for its NRL coverage, the NRL Live 2013 app presents a significantly cheaper way to get your rugby fix.
Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.